There is a lot to like in Amy Hempel’s Art of Fiction interview. For example:
‘Wear your heart on the page, and people will read to find out how you solved being alive.’ That was Gordon [Lish] twenty years ago, and that’s what I’m still trying to do.
I read author interviews like other people read Us Weekly. So, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work was a treat. I love to know about writers’ daily lives. The rhythm of my daily life doesn’t have much in common with the life of any of my real-life friends or family, so knowing that lots of artists lived this way is a relief. I’m not doing it wrong. I mean, I knew I wasn’t doing it wrong, because the way I’ve structured my life is so GOOD. I’m satisfied. I’m writing, more now than ever before. I feel like I might be getting somewhere. So reading that this pattern I’ve tuned into is actually quite like the pattern many artists have followed makes me feel like I’m part of a club. It is an imaginary club populated by lots of dead people, but still.
Also, hi, I’m back. I travelled for most of 2013, then I was hiding out from the internet for the winter months, which in Northern Pennsylvania last until early May. No wifi, spotty cell reception, it was grand! Now though, I’m hooked back up, so I’m going to try to keep collecting beautiful things on this blog, mostly for myself, because my memory is bad so I need holding place. If you like it too, then let’s be friends.
This morning a friend asked me to go with her to the ER. We went and they helped her and now she is feeling better. It went as smoothly as an ER visit possibly could. And it made me feel good. First of all because she now feels much better, but it also because she asked me, because she trusted me to be with her when she was sick. It felt good that she needed me and there was something tangible that I could do to help her.
I think lately I have been really pushing back from need, trying to disengage myself as much as possible from anyone needing anything from me, including my dog (who in turn gets needier). I’ve also been trying not to need anything from anyone. I feel like the older you get the more you are supposed to pretend that you don’t need people. Need makes me uncomfortable.
The thing is, as anyone who has known me for the past few years knows, I’m good at being needed. I like to look at a problem and say, why is it this way and how can we fix it? And, then I’m good at fixing it. But that is not usually how need works. It is often more amorphous. And the fix-it approach is often not the best. In fact, in my experience, it can exacerbate the problem. Maybe that is why today felt so good. My friend needed something, and I did it, and it helped. I’m not patting myself on the back because I walked with her to the ER and sat on a couch for an hour. I didn’t do much. But being important to my friends feels really good.